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January 12, 2018
‘SYMPTOM SCIENCE’
NINR Support of Genomic Nursing Described at International Congress

Nurse scientists play a critical role in the health research enterprise, answering questions to improve quality of life for individuals, families and communities. Genomic approaches are becoming increasingly important tools for nurse scientists as they aim to better understand the symptoms of chronic illness.

National Institute of Nursing Research director Dr. Patricia Grady recently highlighted NINR’s support of genomic nursing science in her keynote address at the International Society of Nurses in Genetics 2017 World Congress.

On hand at the international meeting were (from l) Dr. Lois Tully of NINR’s Division of Extramural Science Programs, Dr. Angela Starkweather of the University of Connecticut, Dr. Susan Dorsey of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Dr. Kathleen Hickey of Columbia University and NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady.
On hand at the international meeting were (from l) Dr. Lois Tully of NINR’s Division of Extramural Science Programs, Dr. Angela Starkweather of the University of Connecticut, Dr. Susan Dorsey of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Dr. Kathleen Hickey of Columbia University and NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady.

PHOTO: KARA TOUSCANY

She described the NINR-developed NIH Symptom Science Model, which guides NINR intramural research. Following this model, researchers use genomic and other approaches to develop clinical interventions for complex symptoms.

NINR-supported studies using genomic information include those related to pain and neurological conditions, cancer symptoms, brain injury and perinatal research.

A significant challenge in genomic nursing science is obtaining data from sufficient numbers of research participants to yield adequate statistical power.

Many large studies may generate extensive symptom-related data, even though symptoms are not the primary focus of the study. “These robust datasets can include genomic, transcriptomic, epigenomic, microbiomic and even clinical data from linked electronic medical records,” Grady noted. Using these existing data sets provides nurse scientists “a wide array of opportunities to address research questions in symptom science.”

To advance the growing importance of “omics” in nursing science, NINR is developing the Omics Nursing Science & Education Network (ONSEN) in collaboration with NCI and NHGRI. The ONSEN web site will be a central resource for those interested in including omics in their program of nursing research. Through ONSEN, nurse scientists will be able to leverage samples and datasets, locate mentors and collaborators and build skills for integrating omics into their research.

In addition to Grady’s keynote, Dr. Lois Tully of NINR’s Division of Extramural Science Programs moderated a panel discussion on the NINR Centers of Excellence program. She also presented a less formal “fireside chat” on research and funding opportunities for nurse scientists.

NINR investigators also presented abstracts on topics including antibiotic use during pregnancy, the effects of blast exposure, ONSEN and genotype-phenotype profiling.

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